John Mounce calls himself a big-time crappie fisherman. He has all the newest, high-tech sonar gear, including a live scope.
On Monday, he was about 130 feet from the dam at the lake, just west of Wichita, when he saw something on one of his monitors. He dropped down his live scope to get a better look.
“As soon as I put my live scope on it, I knew immediately it was a vehicle. I saw the tires and the fender wheels really clear,” he said.
He also noticed a couple of crappie on the hood of the vehicle. Naturally, he caught the fish first, then packed up and called the authorities about the Jeep.
Deputies with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office met Mounce at his house and took a look at his pictures. Mounce said authorities then began making arrangements to haul the vehicle out of the lake.
He gave the sheriff’s office the coordinates, and authorities set out to find the Jeep. However, divers with the County Fire Department had trouble finding it in the dark and muddy water. So Mounce said they called him and asked him to return to the lake to help out.
When he arrived, one of the divers had found the vehicle.
“It was pretty cool. On my live scope I got to watch them hook the chain up to the Jeep,” the fisherman said.
He said the Jeep was in bad shape. The front seats were still attached but were hanging over the side.
Mounce said a woman reached out to him about the vehicle because her Jeep had disappeared in 2007 or 2008, and she wondered if it was hers. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is still trying to determine where the vehicle came from.
Mounce is just happy his fishing technology was useful in the recovery.
“Honestly, I’d like to see our fire and rescue have this kind of stuff. Their stuff works but it’s not going to give you the detail the newer stuff does,” he said.
A sheriff’s office spokesperson said deputies could not find the vehicle identification number, but they think it appears to be an ’80s model Jeep.